Films like Wafaa cannot be made. They just happen.


For those who  haven’t heard of the movie, this link (Not Safe For Work, but depends on where you work)  might give you idea of what you are dealing with.

The story is about Amrit (Rajesh Khanna) and his rather young wife, Beena. The theme is similar to an Amol Palekar sleaze-fest Anaahat, which for strange reasons was hailed by the intellectual critics as a sensitive and brilliant movie, the same people who are now trashing Wafaa. Hypocrisy anyone ?

I don’t think most people got this movie. The movie is complex and multilayered and it takes more than an intelligent person to appreciate its greatness. Now for some of the points that I could comprehend given my very limited abilities compared to what this movie demands.

Firstly the lead actress, her physique is just the director’s way of promoting good health among women (and not sleaze as the pseudo-intellectuals would remark) in this age of size zero and dieting.

The film really kicks off during the first intimate scene Amrit shares with his wife when he starts exhibiting some rather strange behaviour. Initially, you assume that he suffers from a medical condition that the Indian railways and airways are immune from : early arrivals. But then you discover that it is a case of acute asthama. His repeated mention to his doctor that things were going great till recently, but have slowed down now is a hint at the world economy, not some cheap physical act.

Now you would expect Dr. Mahendra Watsa to enter as the saviour with some advice like “If you start like Sehwag, you are bound to get run out !” or “Look at your age ! You should be making love to a 60 year old woman or three 20 year olds, not one !”, but unpredictability is what makes Wafaaa great (althought not in the same league like masterpieces Gunda and Loha, but close to Jimmy).

What follows is a tale of deceit and moral grey areas, an attempt to murder Amrit by his poor wife and his return to avenge his death, which technically might not make sense to a few as he never really died, in fact he doesn’t even carry Band-Aid or Hansaplast wounds. The fact that Rajesh Khanna escapes the fall of a few thousand feet with unnoticeable injuries seemed illogical at first, but metaphorical on retrospection. For someone who has survived the fall from Anand to Wafaa, what is a few thousand feet ?

The success of a thriller is measured by how many repeat viewings it takes to understand the movie. Even by that standards, Wafaa succeeds in the hands of its director Rakesh Sawant, who by his mastery over the craft makes sure that in the first viewing, you only concentrate on one thing .. er .. make that two.

Lastly, it deals with some complex social and moral issues that can best be described to be in a grey area : What does a woman do in her situation ? What is right and what is wrong ? It is a larger question posed to comtemporary society and forces you to introspect. In this age of moral watchdogs and forceful cultural impositions, this movie assumes special significance.

The acting is top notch. Worth mentioning are Rajesh Khanna’s potrayal and some parts of the anatomy of actress Laila Khan. The music is of course brilliant, but unfortunately overshadowed in the acting department as mentioned in the previous sentence.

I can only hope that when Rajesh Khanna’s grandson Arnav grows up and tells his friends about his great grandfather (not great-grandfather), we are in a time where Wafaa would be mentioned proudly. But for now I have to conclude by saying this with a heavy heart :

Some things are best left untouched, unopened and unknown. Wafaa, Himesh Reshammiya and Mamta Banerjee are fine examples.

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